Jennie Helderman was born into a story-telling family in north Alabama too long ago.
“In my family you had to do one of two things, either thread a red worm onto a bream hook or tell stories. I did both,” Jennie said.
She’s afraid she’ll never have time to write all the stories swimming in her head, like when her cousin died and his wife had the Mrs. title and the burial policy but the one-legged woman had the body.
Or about driving her mother and a coconut cake to the family reunion in a cow pasture in south Alabama.
In 2010 she wrote As the Sycamore Grows, a true story about a seventeen year abusive marriage; a Sleeping with the Enemy in the Tennessee backwoods, as told by Ginger, who escaped, and Mike, who abused and holds no remorse. The nonfiction narrative has walked away with six literary awards and a book club Book of the Year prize—to date.
Jennie seldom speaks in few words, but she wrote a 600 word story that was published in flashquake, eaarning her a nomination for the 2007 Pushcart Prize in fiction.
Bridget, a short story, appeared in Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night, an anthology of short stories published in September, 2009. Previously Bridget was one of three finalists for the Gival Press Award.
Jennie also wrote two novelty books, Christmas Trivia and Hanukkah Trivia.
She writes profiles and features for magazines. She’s chaired the editorial board of The Key, the 150,000 circulation alumnae magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity and worked as Arts and Alumnae Editor. She told a story of life-saving heroism in Iraq by a KKG flight surgeon in the Fall 2009 issue.
While working with Inc. magazine’s 5000 project in 2007 and 2008, she interviewed the CEOs of the fastest growing businesses in the U.S., such as the man who built the underwater robot that explored the Titanic; and a pistol-packing woman whose sales staff shot up junk cars at company picnics.
Jennie lives in Atlanta, near her three grandchildren. They go fishing but Jennie threads the worms. She gardens in a 12 foot wide courtyard, plays Scrabble online, and collects folk art.